Lake County American Eagle Day to hold more than one purpose

group of volunteers on behalf of the American Eagle Foundation and its Eastlake nest will be putting together a conservation cleanup day on American Eagle Day, June 20.

The day commemorates the date that the Continental Congress adopted the bald eagle as the national bird and symbol, said Betty Delfosse-Henninger, Eastlake nest liaison for the nest of Jackson, Kindness and their new eaglet, Erie, for the American Eagle Foundation.

The foundation has hopes of getting people not just interested in birds of prey, but the environment as a whole, Delfosse-Henninger said.

There’s so much that goes on with fishing line, fishing hooks and trash (eagles) get trapped in or they grab a fish with a hook and they feed it to their babies,” she said. “A lot needs to be done with the environment, so what they were hoping is around the country, instead of us all getting together and celebrating at the foundation, that we each try and do something in our community.”

Volunteers are hoping to do the cleanup in four separate locations – Chagrin River Park, Daniels Park, Todd Field and the Chagrin River kayak launch area, Delfosse-Henninger said.

Lake County American Eagle Foundation Chuck Anderson cleanup
Chuck Anderson, a volunteer with the American Eagle Foundation, observes abandoned trash during a cleanup last year.

“We would like to do the rivers around the area where not just our eagles fish, but also other birds of prey and animals go to get a drink of water,” she said. “Things like fishing line, fish hooks, glass, metal, plastic holders that come on cans — they get caught up in that. All wildlife does.

“With the pandemic, you see a lot of disposable masks that reached the water, so it’s not necessarily a cleanup for the bald eagle,” she added. “It represents their day, but it’s for all wildlife.”

Kayak groups are also being contacted to see if people who are getting ready to go out on kayaks are able to grab a garbage bag and pick up what they see while they’re out, Delfosse-Henninger said.

“It would be a different way to clean up and make it a little more exciting,” she said. “Last year, three of us — my husband, myself and Chuck Anderson, who is one of the volunteers — we did this ourselves just around Eastlake. We picked up over 400 pounds of trash in about four hours.”

Delfosse-Henninger hopes that cleanups like this are minimal or not necessary at all, she said.

“Last year when we cleaned up, the amount of glass — it looked like someone just smashed a bunch of bottles and it took us forever to try and clean it up,” Delfosse-Henninger recalled. “We had shoes on, so imagine the ducks and things walking by. They don’t see any of that stuff, so it can be very dangerous. We have to change the way we do things ourselves.

mong the culprits of trash accumulating are a lack of trash receptacles, Delfosse-Henninger said, but what is brought in should be taken out.

“Last year, everywhere we went except one place, there wasn’t any anywhere,” Delfosse-Henninger said. “You would either have to tote it back with you to your car and in the case of people having a party, they’re probably not going to tote back all their empty cans and bottles. The one trash can we saw wasn’t along the beach area. It was when you walk through the woods to get back to your car, so you would still have to tote it.”

Being the conservation cleanup is planned for Father’s Day weekend, it would be an opportunity for families to do something together, Delfosse-Henninger said.

“What a great way to do something as a family and teach your children a little bit about wildlife,” Delfosse-Henninger said. “It’s not just to celebrate, and have cookouts and parties. It’s also nice to teach them a little bit more about what’s going on in their environment.”

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